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Cover letters for job applications; what to include in your letter when applying for a job.

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When applying for jobs it is not only your CV
which needs to impress but also the covering letter.  The following Top Ten Tips to
bear in mind when compiling such a letter, have been reproduced from www.jobchannel.tv. 


1. Let the flavour flood out.

Your covering letter is where you let your personality come to the fore. Employers can
often get lost in a sea of very similar, competitive CVs. Your covering letter is where
you ‘speak’ to them about what type of person you are and why you want the job. Keep it
all to one page, though.

2. Phone up first.

Tempting though it is to bash out a covering letter, if the advert has a telephone number,
give them a ring. They will give you more idea of what sort of person they are looking for
and you can refer to the phone call in your letter, making it more personal. If they
didn’t leave a number, they don’t want hundreds of phone calls, so don’t call.

3. Say what job you want.

Include the job title, date and where you saw it advertised. If it is a speculative
letter, explain what sort of position you are after, and whether temporary, permanent,
full or part-time.

4. Say what you are doing now.

In the next paragraph, give brief details about your current work (or previous work)
status. Highlight some points that help give an idea of what type of person you are: ‘we
all work as part of a team, which I enjoy’ or ‘I particularly like being able to get on
with things under my own steam’.

5. Match their requirements.

Show them that you have the skills they require. If they ask for someone who is
‘meticulous’, write that you ‘have to double-check everything.’ If they need someone who
is ‘knows their way around the internet’, write that you ‘spend around 2 hours a day
researching online.’

6. Say why you need a change.

The next paragraph should be about why you want to change your job or apply for the job in
question. This is where you might say that you need a new challenge, or would like to move
from a national profile to an international one. Don’t be negative about your current or
past work.

7. Tell them why you like them.

If you have a particular reason for choosing a certain company, say so; ‘I am interested
in working at [name of company] as you promote ethical work practices, which are important
to me.’ Avoid bland statements such as ‘I have always wanted to work for your company’ or
‘your company has a good reputation’.

8. Be honest.

Don’t exaggerate or tell out-and-out porkies. You’ll only spend the whole interview
sweating away trying not to get caught out. Or, worse, you will get caught out. Avoid
brags such as ‘single-handedly’, ‘sole responsibility’ and ‘the entire company’, just say
‘I ran the xxx department’. ‘I helped to manage the xxx’ is often a useful term when you
are in an assisting role.

9. Be yourself.
If you are serious and shy, don’t write a letter that you can’t live up to. If you have to
invent a persona for your covering letter, you won’t be happy in the job. If you are more
flamboyant, write a (slightly toned-down) cover letter in the same vein. But avoid
gimmicks, it’s all been done before.

10. Keep it individual.

Every employer likes to think their letter is special. If you are mass-producing, do a
mail merge that slots in the name of the company throughout, rather than referring to
‘your company’. Do some research if you can and manually add at least one line about why
you are interested in their company. And do a thorough — I mean thorough – spell check.